Squeezed budgets and fewer staff will only add pressure to BBC striving to bring nation together during coronavirus

2 July 2020

The BBC has announced that it is looking to cut 450 jobs from English regions as well as an overhaul of local content.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said in response: “Anything which genuinely seeks to serve audiences better should be welcomed and Bectu members have worked tirelessly to adapt to the conditions presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

“However, job cuts appear to be at the heart of this which comes on the back of job reductions announced in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

“Years of efficiency savings mean that our members are working harder than ever to deliver these services to the nations and regions.

“By nearly every measure of performance the BBC has demonstrated that it is the UK’s first port of call for information in a crisis. Squeezed budgets and fewer staff will only add further pressure to our members as they strive to continue bringing the nation together through record viewing figures of content that informs, educates and entertains.

“However, coronavirus has affected every part of the creative industries and the BBC is no exception to that. The additional liability of funding the over 75’s licence fee and the challenges of collecting fees in a pandemic have cost the BBC £125m on top of the savings that are already scheduled.

“The government must take back responsibility for the cost of free licence fees for over-75s to ensure that it is able to continue to fulfil its role as the UK’s leading public-service broadcaster.”